What does it mean to be an Athena?

AthenaFor the past 25 years, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership has honored the valuable contributions made by area individuals to advance the status of women in the Buffalo Niagara region.

The ATHENA Leadership Award®, and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® are given to individuals who have achieved professional success, contribute time and energy to making the region a better place, and actively assist others – particularly women – in reaching their potential.

As we approach our 26th ATHENA Awards luncheon in 2016, we will offer profiles of past ATHENA Award honorees – demonstrating what it takes to be an ATHENA. Visit our blog often to see more ATHENA profiles in the future.

Know someone who should be an ATHENA? Nominations for the 2016 ATHENA Awards remain open until November 6 at 12pm. To have a nomination form sent to you, or if you have questions about the process, please contact Krystal Sondel by e-mail ksondel@thepartnership.org or phone at 716-541-1720.

Maureen Hurley presenting her keynote address at our 2014 Power UP event

ATHENA Spotlight

Maureen Hurley

Executive VP/Chief Administrative Officer at Rich Products

Selected as the ATHENA Leadership Recipient in 2002



What did receiving the ATHENA award mean to you?

“Receiving the ATHENA award was very special to me because I knew the qualities it honored and I knew the women who had received it before me. I had always strived for professional excellence in my career, prided myself on a commitment to this community and had spent my years at Rich Products focused on helping other women dream big and own their success. I so admired the previous ATHENA Award winners and was obviously very honored to be considered in the same category of Leadership. Being an ATHENA means “paying it forward” in your workplace, across your community and to the women who are starting out in their careers.”

What have you been up to since receiving the ATHENA Award?

“Since receiving the ATHENA award in 2002, I have continued to build a rewarding career at Rich Products where I now serve as Executive Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer. I was instrumental in founding our “Women Supporting Women” (WSW) group at the company, focused on women making a commitment to help other women be successful in every facet of their life. WSW evolved into “Our Women’s Network” (OWN) and we now focus on encouraging women to take charge of their careers and to continuously strive to learn, improve and deliver value to the organization and to each other. We have leveraged a powerful network in the nationally recognized Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) which exists to advance women, driving growth for individuals and organizations. WFF is a thought leader and pioneer in the food industry and we have partnered with them to help the women of Richs fulfill their career dreams.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“The best advice I was ever given was “to take your work seriously and yourself lightly”. The most impactful leaders I have known are incredibly grateful and consistently humble.”